Features:

 

'Much Ado About Nothing’ opens in Madison
BILL NUTT | The Daily Record

Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” has nearly 20 speaking parts. But when people think of the play, they often concentrate on just two: Beatrice and Benedick.

That focus is understandable. Beatrice and Benedick have some of the best lines, not only in this play, but in the canon of Shakespearean romantic comedy. Their “merry war” of words culminates in marriage and a (presumed) happy ending. Click here to read more.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Begins 12/3 at Shakespeare Theatre of NJ
Broadway World

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's 2014 Season will conclude with the Bard's beloved battle of wits, Much Ado About Nothing. Renowned Stratford Festival artist Scott Wentworth will perform "double duty," directing the production and playing the staunch bachelor Benedick, opposite his real-life wife Marion Adler as the feisty Beatrice. This production will celebrate the winter holiday season, filled with music and dance that evokes the end of World War II, White Christmas era. Click here to read more.


Reviews:

 

‘Much Ado,’ With a Wartime Christmas Setting
MICHAEL SOMMERS | The New York Times

The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey’s striking revival of “Much Ado About Nothing” in Madison is a midwinter night’s dream version of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy.

It is Christmas. It is the wartime 1940s. In a dimly lit barracks, an American G.I. is peeling potatoes while Bing Crosby warbles “White Christmas” over the radio. As the soldier nods off, sheer white draperies sail in, a crystal chandelier descends and the play is rendered as his dream.

This approach proves to be a valid and picturesque way to stage the 400-year-old tale. After all, “Much Ado,” which is among Shakespeare’s most conversationally written and best-known works, is essentially a story about soldiers and women. Click here to read more.

 

Shakespeare Theatre's 'Much Ado' is a festive '40s affair
RONNI REICH | The Star-Ledger

You thought,, by seeing a Shakespeare play, you might escape it. You were wrong.

The first thing you hear when the curtain goes up on "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is a radio broadcast of the Glenn Miller Orchestra playing Christmas carols. Then, Bing Crosby dreams of a "White Christmas" in a way that turns out to be far more poignant than we can know.

Yet even for holiday entertainment skeptics, what could almost be called "Much Ado About Christmas" is far more than the usual vehicle for theatrical snowfall and caroling. Click here to read more.

 

Much Ado About SOMEthing – STNJ’s Holiday Faire
SHERRI RASE | QOnStage

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s (STNJ) 2014 season culminates in a most memorable way with the splendid staging of “Much Ado about Nothing,” in production through December 28. This vividly imagined production contrasts the work-a-day with the wonderful and like most feats, it begins with a dream.

Scott Wentworth directs and takes on the role of Benedick opposite his real-life true love, Marion Adler, playing Beatrice, whom many will remember from STNJ’s production last season of “Our Town.” These two take turns being flint and steel and the sparks are truly something to behold. The vision of the piece is part of what makes it memorable as well, but I promise–no spoilers. They clash like the Titans they are, yet when Beatrice is with her Uncle Leonato and cousins, she’s tender, merry and the life of the party. Similarly Benedick has a talent for delivering his bon mots to audience and friends, as well as bon juste. Click here to read more.

 

Shakespeare Theatre presents ‘Much Ado About Nothing’
C.W. WALKER | The Daily Record

Every year, the good folks at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison are faced with the same dilemma: what to present for a holiday offering to close off the year. If only Will Shakespeare had written a Christmas-themed play, but alas! The closest he ever came was putting “winter” in a title.

So every December, the company either chooses an off-beat, non-Shakespearean, not-done-to-death production, or adapts one of the Bard’s plays to the season. Both strategies have enjoyed mixed results. Click here to read more.

 

A CurtainUp New Jersey Review: Much Ado About Nothing
SIMON SALTZMAN | CurtainUp

The era is World War II. A soldier sits forlornly alone peeling potatoes in the barracks. Behind him on the wall is a large poster, a reminder to "Buy War Bonds." Weary, he falls asleep. It looks as if he has fallen down on his KP duties. But it isn't long before he's up on his feet not only on leave but also back in his home town as a guest in the Governor's mansion just in time for a Christmas party.

It certainly isn't the worst fantasy Officer Benedick (Scott Wentworth) could imagine. The scene gracefully changes (nice work by designer Michael Ganio) from the barracks to ballroom where numerous dazzling chandeliers adorned with mistletoe will bring added glow to a Much Ado that glitters glibly from start to finish. For starters, the voice of Bing Crosby's crooning "White Christmas," is heard followed by Benedick who is now in the uniform of an officer and joined by others from his regiment. Click here to read more.

 

BWW Reviews: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at STNJ is Magical for the Holidays
MARINA KENNEDY | BroadwayWorld.com

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare is now being performed at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) through December 28th. Metropolitan area audiences should not miss the chance to see this classic, just right for the holidays. Bravo to the final show of the theatre's 2014 season.

Directed by Scott Wentworth, the play has a 1940's setting complete with dress of the day and the just the right musical touches. There are festive moments that cleverly embed holiday elements like tree decorating and a dance number with the men wearing Santa's hats. The staging is refreshing and especially satisfying. Kudos to Wentworth who also plays one of the starring roles, Benedick. Click here to read more.

 

‘Much Ado About Nothing': Shakespeare as holiday fare
JAY LUSTIG | NJ Arts

Most of the men in the current production of “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison are soldiers. But they’re making love, not war, of course, since this is a comedy about two couples — and how love blooms surprisingly for one, and is almost tragically thwarted for the other.

Director Scott Wentworth (who also plays Benedick) moves the action from summertime in the 16th century to Christmas time during World War II; by doing so, he turns one of Shakespeare’s sharpest comedies into feel­good holiday fare, complete with mistletoe and a Christmas tree on the stage, Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas” on the radio, and even Shakespeare’s “Sigh No More” song delivered as if it were a Christmas carol. Click here to read more.

 

REVIEW: “MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING” A SHINY CHRISTMAS BAUBLE AT SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY
RUTH ROSS | NJ Arts Maven

The productions I've seen of Much Ado About Nothing are too numerous to count. They've been set in 16th century Italy, Jacobean England, the 18th century, 1900s America, somewhere in the 1930s, the New Jersey Shore during the 1950s, and even California in 2013! This time out, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has transposed Shakespeare's rollicking comedy to 1940s wartime America at Christmastime in a superb production that not only captures the sentiment of the holiday but is a testament to the dialogue's sounding contemporary and fresh, almost 400 years after Shakespeare wrote it! Click here to read more.

 

‘Much Ado about Nothing’ at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
Examiner.com

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s 2014 Season will close with the Bard’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which opened Saturday, Dec. 6, in Madison. The ever-popular battle of wills—one of theater’s most staged romantic comedies—pitting the highly opinionated Beatrice against the just-as-stubborn Benedick got an updated setting to the United States during World War II for its return to the Company after an absence of more than 10 years. The new production scored a hit under the direction of Scott Wentworth, who also played Benedick opposite the Beatrice of his real-life wife, Marion Adler. Click here to read more.

 

Montclair Times Review: Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's 'Much Ado About Nothing'
GWEN OREL | Montclair Times

After amusing us with his wit, some of it directed right at the audience, much of it directed at his sparring partner, Beatrice (Marion Adler) Benedick (Scott Wentworth, who also directs) suddenly becomes heart-stoppingly gallant when he looks straight at Beatrice and says:

"I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange?"

His voice lowers, and his eyes gaze with intensity. The moment of serious devotion makes quite a lot of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." Click here to read more.